AUTHOR: ADESUWA OJO
Before now, I had never understood the fuss about The Mona Lisa. To me, it was just a painting
of a woman and by my mere eyes, I believed I had seen more realistic and elegant paintings of
women, but on closer inspection, I can say, it is totally worth the fuss.
The Mona Lisa, a half portrait painting by an Italian artist popularly known as Leonardo da Vinci
has come to be known as one of the greatest paintings of all time. It portrays a woman, believed
to be Lisa Gherandini,wife of Francesco del Giocondo sitting gracefully, upright and sideways
with curly hair and a simple but elegant dress of her time.
She seems to be in a mountainous environment with valleys of flowing rivers. If I knew no
better, I would have assumed she was photoshopped into the scene but that is not viable given
the time the masterpiece was created
According to research, the painting was among the first portraits to make use of imaginary
landscape and Leonardo, one of the first to use aerial perspective. The painting is done on a polar
wood panel and not a regular canvas. The artist made use of the sfumato technique to achieve the
stunning realism of the artwork especially in the contouring of the face. Through layers and
layers of thin glazing, his brush strokes so subtle they appear invisible to the eyes and creates a
feeling of connection with the subject of the painting. If you look closely into the painting it
seems to have the eyes of a living person looking right back at you. Some describe The Mona
Lisa as an enigma.
According to Walter Isaacson, The Mona Lisa is the greatest emotional painting ever done. He
goes on to explain how the elusive and mysterious smile of The Mona Lisa is a mixture of
science and art, “…Leonardo understood optics and the muscles of the lips and how light strikes
Beyond the grace of the subject and the artistic skill of the painter, there is one thing that brought
the painting so much popularity. It was The Theft in the summer of 1911.
Since its creation, the Mona lisa hung brilliantly, relatively unnoticed in the Louvre museum for
viewers entertainment until August 21, 1911 when it was stolen cleverly in a heist that shook the
art world. After two years of frantic searching, conspiracy theories and more, an Italian
Carpenter, Vincezo Peruggia wrote a letter to Alfredo Geri admitting to have stolen the art piece.
The thief was arrested and The Mona Lisa returned to the Louvre Musuem.
On its return, French citizens began to come into the museum to admire this piece that had been
worthy of being stolen and in no time, people from all over the world began to troop in to gaze
on the sensational artwork.
As of today, the “Original” artwork sits in the Louvre Musuem secured by a bullet proof glass
and is tagged priceless.